Monday, December 25, 2017

Twelve Drummers Drumming (Final Day of the 12DoC link-up): Eddy Christmas Traditions/Why I Love Christmas

Let's take a moment to acknowledge the elephant in the room (or should I say...camel? Donkey? Sheep? No? Ok. Never mind):

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!

I have to admit something...I was incredibly busy this weekend with several out of town relations arriving and the ensuing chaos. So, I missed one of the posts I was GOING to write and schedule for you all yesterday. Sorry about that. That's the bad news.

The GOOD news (besides the gospel, which I guess will also end up being a part of this post...but not for that reason) is that I'm going to try to kill two birds with one stone and do both subjects at once. Fun, right? *laughs nervously* We'll see how this goes.



Why IS Christmas such a big deal to me? I love this holiday for a lot of reasons. It is by far my favorite holiday. Let me clue you in on what makes me feel this way about the season:

First, this is one of the very few holidays left that still has remnants of the biblical story behind it. Yes, many people have tried very hard to push this remnant out by bringing in other traditions like Santa Clause and the whole push toward satisfying your fleshly wants and desires by appealing to the "it's all about me and what I get" idea. HOWEVER, go to any store and you can probably still find nativity sets for sale around this time of year.

Secondly, I love this season for the decorations. The lights, the trees, the sparkles. *happy sigh* No other holiday that I know has such amazing decor to accompany them. The best thing about the decorations? They all have meanings and messages behind them that point to Christ...or can if you use your imagination a little bit. ;)

Thirdly, can we all just take a moment to appreciate the wonderful TASTES that come around this time of year? Gingerbread cookies, peppermint bark, eggnog lattes...the list could go on but it's making me hungry. You get the picture. Most of my favorite treats and goodies are directly associated with Christmastime. 

Fourth, I love getting gifts for people. This is not a "look at me, so good at giving" point either. The act of going out to shop for friends and family at a store (or online...Amazon has saved my bacon several times this year) is something I look forward to every year. The look on their faces when I get them the perfect thing makes my year. :) 
Don't get me wrong, I also love getting gifts FROM people. I'm a normal person after all. I've already had some gifts given to me that made my season a whole lot brighter. ;) 

Fifth, I love Christmas because of the music. I could elaborate on this point, but you already had a whole post about Christmas music...so I'll just leave it at that. ;)

Sixth, and lastly, Christmas seems to bring out the best or worst in people. This is kind of a mixed blessing of the holiday, and the part I love is (obviously) the fact that it can bring out the best in people. To see people going out of their way to help those in need, or just make someone's day with little things like smiles and a handshake or word of encouragement. It inspires me, as well as many other people I'm sure. So if you were one of those people who gave any kind of helping hand to others this Christmas, GOOD FOR YOU! You remind us that God is not done with this world yet. 


Believe me, I have plenty more reasons why I love Christmas so much, but I'm sure you have better things to do since today IS Christmas after all, so I'll keep this post short by moving on to a few family traditions. ;)


Next, let me give you a few Eddy family traditions that have been going on in my life for as long as I can remember:


~ Gifts / Stockings ~
We give gifts on Christmas. Christmas Eve, (usually) we have my mom's side over for a party, and Christmas Day, we do our own family gifts. Mom and Dad get stuff for us kids, us kids fill our parents' stockings. (Thanksgiving our family does a sibling gift exchange where we all draw names out of a hat and buy that sibling a gift...hence no gifts for siblings at Christmas.) We do it that way because there are twelve people in our family (13 if you count my oldest sister's husband) so if we all got each other A gift...I'm not even taking into consideration the fact that there would probably end up more than one gift per kid...that would make *insert mathematical moment while I figure this out* 169 gifts. So we don't. Makes sense, right? 

~ The Christmas Music Playlist ~
This "tradition" was started by my dad. About the time November rolls around, he'll begin sneaking in soft Christmas music, a playlist made of his favorite Christmas music, on our family speaker in the living room. Little by little, he incorporates it more and more into our background noise and then at about Thanksgiving Day its become an official part of our lives. By that time, I've basically had the songs and artists memorized and could tell you who was singing what on any of the given 50-100 songs. :)
Now you know where I got that part of myself from. Thanks, Dad. ;)
~ The Advent Calendar ~
If I remember correctly, my grandma handmade our advent calendar that we bring out every year and put together as we count down the days until Christmas.
The calendar is made of cross-stitched holiday picture squares (a sleigh, a bell, a candle, etc.) and each day, a child gets to choose a picture and snap it onto the calendar. December 1st is the start, and it begins with the youngest child, up through the oldest that wants to do it (usually we stop at around age 13 or 14 and just let the little kids do it more often). It's always fun to see which picture ends up landing on Christmas (often the bell or candle) and who ends up getting to choose for that coveted day. ;)

~ The Manger / Christmas Tree ~
Depending on the year, our family will sometimes get a Christmas tree to decorate. On the other years when for some reason we aren't able to get a tree, whether because we just didn't have time or for other reasons (for example, the Christmas tree farm we used to go to had a disease and all their trees, or at least most of them, died or looked really bad) we have a manger we put our gifts around with a baby Jesus doll laying inside wrapped in a dish towel. So maybe not the most realistic picture of the nativity night, but hey, its the best we could do without a real baby Jesus. 


Friday, December 22, 2017

Nine Ladies Dancing (Day 9 of the 12DoC link-up): The Bookish Tag (Christmas Version)

Today I'm bringing you a bookish tag (because books + Christmas = awesomeness) as my fifth post in the 12 Days of Christmas link-up. 
Could we take a moment to FREAK OUT TOGETHER BECAUSE HOW IS IT THREE DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS LIKE WHAAAAAAT??!!!? 

*takes several calming breaths* 
Ok. Ok. I think I can do this now that I've taken a moment to let it go. *wicked grin* (You're welcome) 


Since this tag is LOOOOONG overdue, I can't even remember who tagged me in the first place. *face palm* So if YOU remember it was YOU, let me know in the comments so I can thank you properly! >_< 
Anyways, this tag (originally called The Bookish Tag) was tweaked slightly by me in order to go with the Christmas theme. For those if you wanting to do it in the original form, just omit the word *Christmas* from the questions, and it should be back to normal. :) 
Hope you enjoy the questions and answers about some of my favorite (and not so favorite) Christmas reads on this, the ninth day of Christmas! ^_^

The Bookish Tag Rules:
-You must be honest.
-You must answer every question.
-You must tag at least 4 people. 



1 ~ What Christmas book has been on your shelf the longest?
I only just started building my own bookshelf (big family issues...not a lot of room in our house for each personal library etc.) so unless we're allowed to count the biblical story, I would say "The Tailor of Gloucester" by Beatrix Potter has been on my shelf the longest since I got the collection when I was twelve. That was back when I stored my books in a drawer (horrors!)

2 ~ What is your current Christmas read, your last Christmas read, and the Christmas book you'll read next? 

Currently reading "Red Boots" by Kate Willis, my last Christmas read was "The Legend of the Candy Cane", and my next Christmas read will probably be either "Christmas with Anne", "Star of Light", or "Little Women". (And yes, I count "Little Women" as a Christmas story. DO NOT QUESTION.)

3 ~ What Christmas book did everyone like, but you hated?

I wasn't overly impressed with "Treasures of the Snow" when I first read it as a ten-year-old, but after waiting a couple years I re-read it and it wasn't as bad. Still not my favorite, though, so I'll go with that one. 

4 ~ What Christmas book do you keep telling yourself you'll read, but you probably won't? 

There aren't any that come to mind. I probably forgot about them in a convenient way if I had any. ;) 

5 ~ What Christmas book are you saving for retirement?  

None. XD I don't think that far ahead. I probably should... but I don't.

6 ~ Last page: read it first, or wait 'til the end?

As a general rule, I wait until the end. (The only time I didn't do this was for The Return of the King, book 3 in the LOTR series because I HAD to find out if Samwise made it to the end. I just HAD to.)

7 ~ Acknowledgement: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside? 

Personally, I think it's up to the author. After all, readers can read it or not and they might as well have it in there so those they want to acknowledge can feel special and appreciated. As an author myself, I include the acknowledgement to show gratitude to the people who played a part in my book that made it come into being. So I guess I fall under the "interesting aside" category. ;)

8 ~ Which Christmas book character would you switch places with? 

If "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" counts as a Christmas book, I would totally switch with Lucy. *heart eyes* 

9 ~ Do you have a Christmas book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (Place, time, person?) 

No...not really. Man, I hope this tag doesn't end up being as boring as I'm afraid it will. Apparently I need to branch out in my Christmas reading. *shakes head*

10 ~ Name a Christmas book that you acquired in an interesting way. 

I was given a Christmas book as a Christmas gift through the mail once... I think that's about as interesting as my Christmas book life gets. Sorry guys. XD It was "The Old Mansion's Secret" by Rebekah Morris. 

11 ~ Have you ever given a Christmas book away for a special reason to a special person?

No, but I have been given a Christmas book before... not a bad gift idea. *mentally adds this to future Christmas gift ideas list*

12 ~ Which Christmas book has been with you most places?

The Bible. Duh. XD 

13 ~ Any "required Christmas reading" you hated in high school that wasn't so bad later?
I guess "A Christmas Carol" is the best Christmas book I would say falls in this category. It took me a couple years to wrap my mind around Dicken's writing...but now that I have, he has become one of my favorite classic authors. :)

14 ~ Used or brand new?

Depends on the book, and depends on how much it costs and what condition they are in. I like the way new books look on my shelf, but being a cheapskate, used books are the cheaper option most of the time and therefore the option I go with. I like used book stores WAY better than new book stores, though.

15 ~ Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

Never ever even heard of him. (Sorry)

16 ~ Have you ever seen a Christmas movie you liked more than the book? 

Nope. Granted, I don't watch a lot of Christmas movies period, but the ones I HAVE seen that are based off of books I remember not liking any more than I liked the book.

17 ~ Have you ever read a Christmas book that's made you hungry, cookbooks included? 

Basically every. Little. House. In. The. Prairie. Book. Ever. Almost all of them have Christmas as a part of them, and every Christmas describes the food in mouth-watering detail.

18 ~ Who is the person whose Christmas book advice you'll always take? 

There's multiple people (relations or friends) that I go to for book advice. My Dad always has good book recommendations up his sleeves, and chances are he'll not only have recommendations, but also copies of aforementioned recommendations in his library. ;) 

19 ~ Is there a Christmas book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving? 
Not really. At least, not that I recall. Someone should write a sci-fi Christmas story, or a dystopian Christmas story. There aren't many of those out there...just saying. 


So...yeah. Hopefully that wasn't boring. Obviously I need to expand my CHRISTMAS TBR. Recommendations anyone? :P

That's all for now. I'll be back in a couple days with an introduction to what the Christmas season looks like (usually) for the Eddy family.

Until then, let everything you do be done for the glory of God! :)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Seven Swans A-Swimming (Day 7 of the 12DoC link-up): Christmas Pet Peeves

Today I'm bringing you a subject very near and dear to my heart. PET PEEVES. I've done Pet Peeve Posts in the Past (lovely alliteration, right? :P) And while wracking my brain for more Christmas post ideas, I thought wait, I haven't done a pet peeve post in awhile...why not do a Christmas one? To be safe, I looked back at my previous pet peeve posts (again with the alliteration... this is fun B-) and sure enough, not a SINGLE pet peeve about Christmassy stuff. SO.


*drum roll*

I'm going to give you some pet peeves I have about Christmas in particular. Your job is to realize that these following things I'm going to rant about are my opinion, so don't take anything personally. To those of you who disagree with me on the following pet peeves, please understand that I don't look down on you for that, believe me, I know I'm weird about some of the things I have opinions on. If you think differently, that's totally fine. I respect your opinion as I hope you will respect mine.

And, above all, don't take this too seriously. This post is supposed to be FUN. Just sit back and enjoy my tangents. ;)


~ Pet Peeve #1 ~
The thought that Christmas songs should only be sung between the day after Thanksgiving and the end of the year
See the source image
Guys, I love my Christmas songs. Personally, I don't think songs like "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" and "Silent Night" should be only played during the last little bit of November and the month of December. I know some people think that this tradition makes these songs more special...and in some ways I see their point...but I'm not going to go 11 months of the year without listening to my favorite songs. Just saying.



~Pet Peeve #2 ~
When people substitute Christmas with other words or phrases like "Xmas" or
"Happy Holidays"
Do I think people sin when they say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas"? No. That phrase is perfectly fine...but something about using that instead of a good ol' fashioned "Merry Christmas" rubs me the wrong way. I just feel like substitutions are used in order to remove all signs of God from the season, and that frustrates me. Probably in most cases, that thought doesn't even cross the person's mind who uses the substitute phrase. But with everything already moving away from focusing on Christ during Christmas, that one thing is kind of the straw that breaks the camel's back (to use a Christmassyish metaphor...you know, camels...wise men...? *crickets* Never mind.)



~ Pet Peeve #3 ~
Santa Clause
(a.k.a St. Nicolas, Father Christmas, etc.)
See the source image
I don't have anything against the story/ies behind this traditional figure, but the way this man has become such a huge part of Christmas...drowning out the story of the birth of our Messiah...makes me want to push back with shunning him completely. That, of course, would be the extreme reflex to the issue, and one I won't make, but the fact remains that I think he shouldn't be such a huge part of JESUS' BIRTHDAY. I mean, really?



~ Pet Peeve #4 ~
When secular stories are mixed with the Biblical Christmas story
 I don't remember when, but at one point, I watched this cartoon about Santa getting his sack stolen or lost or something and this little orphan girl helping an elf find it. At one point, she asks why the magic sack is so important, and the elf explains that it was made from the same swaddling cloth that Jesus was wrapped in as a baby, and that was why it's magical.
At the time, I don't think it bothered me...I was probably like five or six, and theology wasn't as important to me as it is now. But years later that sort of thing really bothers me. I don't like when my REAL God is mixed up in stories that are obviously UNreal. It's almost like Jesus' birth is lumped in with the other traditional fairy tales as "one of those stories". A tradition, but not necessarily something that ACTUALLY happened. And that ruffles my feathers. (Ok, I'm not going to even try to get that metaphor to work as a Christmas metaphor...)



~ Pet Peeve #5 ~
When the wise men show up at the stable
See the source image
 This. Just. WHY??? Have the people creating nativity sets ever actually READ the Christmas story? Luke chapter two, y'all. THE WISE MEN DON'T GO AND WORSHIP JESUS AT THE STABLE. That's the shepherds, ok? The wise men come at least a year later, maybe two. Jesus is a toddler when they show up. And, above all, I sigh extra loud when I see a picture (like the one above) of ONLY the three wise men at the stable. *face palm* Not only do these people get the wrong people in there at the wrong time, but they don't even have the RIGHT people in there at the right time! (a.k.a the shepherds) 
Also, to go along with this pet peeve, here's my other wise men pet peeve: nowhere in the Bible does it say that there were THREE wise men. They brought three different kinds of gifts, yes, but that doesn't mean there were only three of them. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

So, there are a few pet peeves of mine when it comes to Christmas. I probably could have come up with more...but we'll leave it at that before I end up offending everyone in the world. XD
Which pet peeves do we share in common? (If any! ;P)
Which ones were you surprised to see up there?
What's your opinion on these? (I ask in fear and trembling...please be nice in your disagreement guys. I don't want to have to delete any comments, ok?)


Well, I hope you enjoyed reading my rants. Thank you for putting up with me and my opinions. Again, I don't judge you for having a different opinion on any of these pet peeves of mine. I only posted this for entertainment purposes, don't take anything personally. I DON'T HATE ANY OF YOU. YOU ARE STILL MY FRIENDS.


I'll be back in a couple days with a tag all about Christmas books...so stay tuned!


Until then, let everything you do be done for the glory of God! :)

Pictures are not mine.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Five Golden Rings (Day 5 of the 12DoC link-up): Christmas Poetry

Today, as the third post I've contributed towards the 12 Days of Christmas link-up, although technically the FIFTH day of Christmas, I'm bringing you guys a couple Christmas poems I've written.


The first poem is one I wrote last week and is more on the serious side. The following ones are kind of an odd thing I did last month just for fun and are going to eventually be an entire collection under the title: A Villain's Christmas. B-)
Weird I know, but could you honestly expect anything else from me? Anyways. I hope you enjoy all of them, and be sure to let me know in the comments which was your favorite. ;)
Without further ado, I present...

 ~ The Whole Reason for Christmas ~
Snowflakes and evergreen trees 
Smiles and flamboyant wreaths
Santa and elves and the toys
Songs that have become background noise
Lights and meaningless junk
That fills up our attics and bunks
Hot cocoa and eggnog lattes
Reasons this season conveys
Explains why we do what we do
And the piles of stuff we accrue
The full emptiness of it all
The sales and rush through the mall
Take a moment to step back and see
How ridiculous about Christmas are we 
What is this day without God
A worthless mask, a phony fa├žade
Realize that when Father sent Son
To save a world both doomed and undone
He laid down His life for ours
That gift which tore down the bars
And gave everyone chance to win
The ever present battle with sin
The same sin that distracts us today
From the desire to study and pray
Those wants and wishes we get
Beyond all those needs we have met
To have more stuff we don't need
To satisfy our pride and our greed
But we can be conquerors now
Going before His throne with a bow
Admitting that we are but weak
Admitting that His help we seek
Knowing our deeds are but rags
That fill up countless trash bags
And this is why Jesus Christ came
As a babe in a manger was lain
Why he grew up as one of us
But still God, both holy and just
And died on that cross for mankind
So God could claim heart and mind
Of each willing, forgiven soul
Eternal life with Him the main goal
Now when He sees the raised hands
Of people from various lands
Instead of our sin blackened hearts
He sees His Son's sacrificial scars
And opens the gates with a smile
Into heaven with streets of gold tile
So take time on Christmas this year
To thank God for His sacrifice dear
Exchanging His Son for us broken things
And rejoice in the joy that it brings
To know we are forgiven and free
'Cause God can love people like me



~ Guns and Knives ~
(a.k.a Jingle Bells)
 
Dashing through the snow
After ruining someone’s day
O’er the fields I go
Laughing all the way
(Bwhahahaha)

 
Guns and knives,
Guns and knives,
Always do the job
Oh what fun it is to fight
And then escape the mob


Coins in pockets ring
Makes my spirit rise
Oh, what fun it is to sing
A slaying song tonight!
(Bwhahahahaha)

Guns and knives,
Guns and knives,
Always do the job
Oh what fun it is to fight
And then escape the mob
 
 
I'll leave you with a (sort of) theme appropriate song. Just...don't get this version stuck in your head. That's all I ask. :P
 
 
 
~ The Twelve Days of Villainy ~
(a.k.a The Twelve Days of Christmas)
 
On the first day a villain left outside the door for me
a match and some TNT
On the second day a villain left upon a step for me
two ICBMs
and a match and some TNT
On the third day a villain left upon the path for me
three cups of poison
two ICBMs
and a match and some TNT
On the fourth day a villain left outside the gate for me
four stun grenades
three cups of poison
two ICBMs
and a match and some TNT
On the fifth day a villain left on the sidewalk just for me
FIVE LIPSTICK GUNS
four stun grenades
three cups of poison
two ICBMs
and a match and some TNT
On the sixth day a villain left across the road for me
six dogs a-growling
FIVE LIPSTICK GUNS
Four stun grenades
Three cups of poison
Two ICBMs
And a match and some TNT
On the seventh day a villain left a bit further on for me
Seven knives a-flying
Six dogs a-growling
FIVE LIPSTICK GUNS
Four stun grenades
Three cups of poison
Two ICBMs
And a match and some TNT
On the eighth day a villain left in a corner store for me
Eight bombs a-fizzing
Seven knives a-flying
Six dogs a-growling
FIVE LIPSTICK GUNS
Four stun grenades
Three cups of poison
Two ICBMs
And a match and some TNT
On the ninth day a villain left around the bend for me
Nine hoodlums watching
Eight bombs a-fizzing
Seven knives a-flying
Six dogs a-growling
FIVE LIPSTICK GUNS
Four stun grenades
Three cups of poison
Two ICBMs
And a match and some TNT
On the tenth day a villain left down an alleyway for me
Ten doors a-closing
Nine hoodlums watching
Eight bombs a-fizzing
Seven knives a-flying
Six dogs a-growling
FIVE LIPSTICK GUNS
Four stun grenades
Three cups of poison
Two ICBMs
And a match and some TNT
On the eleventh day a villain left on a dead-end lane for me
Eleven windows creaking
Ten doors a-closing
Nine hoodlums watching
Eight bombs a-fizzing
Seven knives a-flying
Six dogs a-growling
FIVE LIPSTICK GUNS
Four stun grenades
Three cups of poison
Two ICBMs
And a match and some TNT
On the twelfth day a villain said “Look above for me”
And gave me Twelve bricks a-falling
Eleven windows creaking
Ten doors a-closing
Nine hoodlums watching
Eight bombs a-fizzing
Seven knives a-flying
Six dogs a-growling
FIVE LIPSTICK GUNS
Four stun grenades
Three cups of poison
Two ICBMs
And a match and some TNT
(Special thanks to my brothers Maxwell, David, William, and Sam for helping me come up with all the explosive names. *grins* Truly, that is what brothers are for. XD)
 
Well, I hope you enjoyed that. ;) Have a fantastic fifth day of Christmas with those lipstick guns (and YES those are actually a thing)!
I'll be back on the seventh day with some Christmas pet peeves! :)
 
Until then, let everything you do be done for the glory of God!

Q&A, Giveaway Winners, and Other Exciting News

As I sit here, consuming too much coffee ice cream and enjoying the gentle breezes of summer (which has FINALLY decided to show up) I feel ...